Stakeholders’ Perceptions Of The Impact Of A Global System For Mobile Communication On Nigeria’s Rural Economy:

Implications For An Emerging Communication Industry



Tella Adeyinka
Department of Library and Information Studies, University of Botswana
<tellayinkaedu@yahoo.com>

Josiah .O. Ajiboye
University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
ajiboyejo@mopipi.ub.bw

Adu Olusola Emmanuel
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
solaadu@yahoo.ca

James Idowu, Wojuade
Department of Teacher Education, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.



Abstract

The major purpose of the study was to examine the stakeholder’s perception of the impact of GSM on the economies of rural dwellers in Nigeria, specifically, on job creation, time management, reduction in the crime rate and general income flow. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design, and data was collected using a questionnaire administered to one thousand respondents randomly selected from ten rural communities in a region of Nigeria. The sample was taken from only one of the 36 states of the federation in Nigeria, however, the rural communities represent typical rural villages in the country, hence, the findings could be generalized for the whole country. The GSM is an emerging communication industry in Africa, with Nigeria rated as one of the fastest growing market in this field of communication. However, the impact of the communication system is largely felt in the urban cities, the impact on the rural dwellers is still marginally poor. Hence, focus should be shifted to the utilization of the GSM for the development of rural economies in Africa, Nigeria inclusive. The paper is a product of a recent survey carried out by the authors; hence the findings reported here are original and reflect the current views and practices in the rural communities in Nigeria with regards to the impact of the communication mode. Apart from some ‘market’ researches in this area, this perhaps represents one of the few academic thorough researches in the field in Nigeria.

Key Words: Nigeria, Communications, Global System of Communication, Economy, Rural, Industry.

Introduction

The world is fast becoming a global village and a necessary tool for this process is communication, of which telecommunication is a key element. Development in the telecommunications industry all over the world is very rapid as one innovation replaces another in a matter of weeks. A major breakthrough is the wireless telephone system, which comes in either fixed wireless lines or the global system for mobile communication (GSM) (Wojuade, 2005).

Communication is a major driver of any economy. Nigeria is part of this race for rapid developments, as the years of economic reversal via mismanagement have had adverse effects on its rate of growth and development. The Nigerian telecommunications sector was grossly under-developed before the sector was deregulated under the military regime in 1992 and placed under the jurisdiction of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). Since then, the NCC has issued various licences to private telephone operators. These licences allow private telephone operators (PTOS) to roll out both fixed wireless telephone lines and analogue mobile phones. The return of democracy in 1999 however paved the way for the granting of GSM licences to three service providers, MTN, ECOPNET (which is now V-MOBILE) and NITEL plc in 2001; with GLOBACOM joining in 2003.

The development of GSM was prompted by the need to provide seamless telecommunications throughout Europe. In the early 1980s, analogue mobile telephony was growing rapidly and operators found it increasingly difficult to interconnect the various networks in Europe as each implementation of the analogue service was fundamentally different making internetworking a serious challenge. To address this a study group called ‘Group Special Mobile’ (where GSM got its name) was formed and was tasked to provide a standardized system for mobile telephony. Out of this group (and seven years later), the GSM standard was realized. In January 1992, the first GSM network, OY Radioing AB in Finland went on air.

Today, GSM covers over 1.2 billion users on 630 networks in over 210 countries, and is the fastest growing technology of all time. The initial release of GSM was called GSM Phase I, and is commonly referred to as the 1st generation. This release made provision for the basic voice, SMS and circuit switched Date (CSD) services. CSD allowed for a maximum data rate of 9.6kbs and was capable of fax transmission as well. Supplementary services at that point were very basic consisting of call forwarding and call restricting capabilities.

The second generation (GSM Phase 2) was released in 1995 and provided enhanced supplementary services, among which were call line identificatio (CLI), call waiting and multi-party services. Data services however remained limited to 9.6kbs.

GSM Phase 2+ was an enhancement to GSM Phase 2 and was released two years later in 1997. Realizing the need for enhanced data service, Phase 2+ addressed this requirement by making provision for high speed circuit switched data (HSCSD) and General Packet Radio Services (GPRS). HSCSD and GPRS allowed maximum data rates of 48kbs and 177 kbs respectively.

In Nigeria, the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) highlighted the nation’s socio-economic development aspirations. Specifically, it called for the reform of the public sector, to enable a robust private sector-led economy and the implementation of an effective social charter to reduce poverty, create wealth, generate employment and re-orient national values. One fundamental feature was that it clearly delineated responsibilities between the government and the private sector. While government would provide the enabling business and regulatory environment, the private sector would invest in and manage ventures that stimulate and support socio-economic development.

Being aware of the catalytic role typically played by mobile telecommunications in socio-economic development in Africa, GSM operators in Nigeria have developed a Joint Economic Development (JED) framework to support the government in the actualisation of its objectives as set out in NEEDS. JED outlines the positive multiplier effects of mobile telecommunications on virtually every sphere of endeavour in the society, previews further prospects targets, highlights challenges and (and possible solutions) and assigns specific roles to government and operators for further optimisation of the benefits of GSM services.

NEEDS targets for the telecommunications sector include: Attainment of tele-density of 1: 25 by the year 2007 and the development of a national communications backbone and multi-media super-corridor. Strategies identified for attaining these targets include the use of fiscal financial incentives to encourage investment, adoption of a local content policy in the manufacture of equipment, accessories and components as well as financial support for rural roll out and Internet access. Today, tele-density stands at about 1.15, there is significant improvement in rural telephone access penetration from just one (NTEL’S) transmission backbone in 2001; while at least four other backbones are being constructed across the country today.

The summary is that the telecommunications sector has exceeded its tele-density targets under NEEDS. This is due to the advent of GSM services in 2001 which has resulted in a dramatic increase in the total number of lines from just over 500,000 to about 12 million today, accounting for about 91% of the total telephony (fixed and mobile) market.

In Nigeria, there has been an even more expeditious roll out in rural areas covering over 50% of the government’s target areas and at least 5,000 communities and villages. Most of the other GSM operators are presently building transmission backbones to complement NITEL’S facilities. The result of this will be the availability of spare capacity that can be utilized by other interests for conveying data, video and voice. These developments underlie Nigeria’s present standing as the fastest growing telecommunications market in Africa.

The major purpose of our study in this context was to examine the stakeholder’s perception of the impact of the GSM on the Nigeria rural economy. Similarly, it would examine the role of GSM and its effectiveness on Nigeria rural dwellers time management and finally indicate whether GSM has actually contributed to job creation and crime reduction.

Literature Review

The journey to success in Nigeria telecommunication milieu has been long and tortuous. Telecommunication facilities in Nigeria were first established in 1886 by the colonial administration. At independence in 1960, with a population of roughly 40 million people, the country only had about 18,724 phone lines. This translated into a tele-density of about 0.5 telephone line per 1,000 people. The telephone network consisted of 121 exchanges of which 116 were manual type and only 5 were automatic.

Between 1960 and 1985 the telecommunication sector consisted of the department of posts and telecommunication (P & T) in charge of the internal network and a limited liability company, the Nigerian External Telecommunication (NET) Limited, responsible for the telecommunications gateway to the outside world. The installed switching capacity at the end of 1985 was about 200,000 lines as against the planned target of about 460,000. All the exchanges were analogue with 1 telephone line for 440 inhabitants, well below the target of 1 telephone line for 100 inhabitants recommended by ITU for developing countries. The quality of service was unsatisfactory. The telephone was unreliable, congested, expensive and customer unfriendly.

Arising from the foregoing, in January 1985, the erstwhile Posts and Telecommunications Department was split into Postal and Telecommunication Divisions. The latter was merged with NET to form Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL), a limited liability company. The main objective of establishing NITEL was to harmonise the planning and coordination of the internal and external telecommunications services, rationalize investments in telecommunications development and provide accessible, efficient and affordable services. However, after almost 43 years NITEL had only roughly half a million lines available for over 100 million Nigerians.

NITEL, the only national carrier had a monopoly on the sector and was synonymous with very poor services and bad management. On assumption of office on May 29, 1999, the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration swung into action to deregulate the telecom sector, most especially the granting of licences to GSM services providers and setting in motion the privatization of NITEL. This approach by the government to the telecom sector has made it possible for there to be over 2.5 million individual GSM telephone subscribers in Nigeria today (Nigeria Business Information, 2005).

GSM mobile communication is one of the most explosive developments ever to have taken place in the telecommunications industry (Wojuade, 2006). Combining the convenience of mobility with the rich multi-media content of the Internet and with the integration of the mobile telephone with palm-sized computers, cameras and content related information makes it almost inevitable that the ubiquitous access point to the electronic information is not the PC but rather some form of mobile appliance.

ECONET wireless Nigeria Limited (ECONET) which was one of the winners of GSM licences in Nigeria is a Zimbabwean based company with strong ties in South Africa. It is the fourth largest mobile phone operator in Africa with a significant network in the southern part of the continent (Wojuade, 2006). In Nigeria, ECONET wireless international (EWI) holds an equity interest in ECONET of Zimbabwe and the South African government owned company Transnet. Both companies together hold a 60% stake in Nigeria affiliate (Masiyiwa, 2002). According to Masiyiwa, the Zimbabwean ECONET vision was to provide telecommunication to all Nigerians and with a mission to serve Nigeria by pioneering, developing and sustaining reliable, efficient and high quality telecommunication of world class standard and ethics. Ajakaye (2005) explains that ECONET promised affordable charges and proposed to the government that they be allowed to charge a connection fee of N20,000 and air-time cost of N29 or N30 per minute which has been done (at current rates $1USD=N118.5).

In the same vein, mobile tele-communications carrier Network Nigeria limited (MTN) is also one of the companies that own GSM licence in Nigeria. It began in 1994 with five countries and over three million customers in Uganda, Burundi, Swaziland, Cameroon and South Africa, leading Africa into a new age of economic developments using telecommunications as the spring board. “Effective communication services are, essential particularly from a business perspective and nowhere more than in Nigeria which is developing into one of our most important trading partners” (Huel, 2001).

It is on this principle that MTN has based its vision to become the leading telecommunications provider on the African continent providing quality services as a catalyst for economic development. The success of MTN in Nigeria revolves round providing telecommunication across the countries. MTN’s aim is to facilitate changes that have long term domestic benefits. Apart from the obvious economic development, local infrastructure and facilities are up graded to improve the quality of life through communication.

Effects of GSM on the Economy of Nigerian Rural Dwellers

According to Balogun (2000), GSM facilitates economic development as it provides easy and effective communication needed to stimulate and promote trade between Nigeria and its foreign partners in the world. Even at home, it plays a significant role in communicating government programmes. Above all, it encourages investment which in the long run promotes employment opportunities.

According to a report in Nigeria Tribune Newspaper of July 16, 2004, government treasury has been boosted by payment of over 200 billion Naira in taxes and and levies. National productivity has also been enhanced as travel times and associated risks have been reduced, business communications improve and the rural-urban divide narrowed. Social and family relationships and the security situation have also been significantly enhanced.

Adeyeye in Wojuade (2005) noted that GSM has discouraged rural-urban migration, now with GSM people travel to cities without boarding a vehicle. The introduction of GSM also has potential for reducing crime. Accessibility to phone services ensures quick calls to security operations when the need arises as well as informing fire stations during fire incidents to save live and properties. To Adomi (2006), GSM is used by Nigerians mostly to communicate with another. He explained that students used it to communicate with their course mates, friends, lecturers and family relatives. Additionally, family matters, finance, and academic matters constitute the topics/ subject of mobile communication for a majority of students. Mobile phones limit the need for students to travel as well as facilitating the of exchange information as the need may arise.

Scott (2004) reports research carried out by Gamos Ltd on some characteristics of the use of telephones amongst rural and low income communities in some African Countries- Botswana, Ghana, and Uganda. The study reveals rural inhabitants and poorer urban users value phone services but do not use them very often compared to relatively more affluent users; over 40% of respondents in Uganda used mobile phones through friends and family and individuals; with a further 24% of people using mobile phones through teleshops. The result from all three countries was quite striking and consistent, demonstrating a strong preference for mobile phones rather than fixed line phones, and a preference for private phones rather than public access points. Scott in Adomi (2006) as well reports that educated people used phones more, have a stronger intention to use phones in the future, and have a more positive attitude towards phones.

GSM activities have increased and promote competition in the industry, resulting in an exponential growth in the number of telephone lines. It is instructive to note that while connected lines only grew at an average of 10,000 lines per annum in the four decades between independence in 1960 and end of 2000, in the last two years, an average growth rate of 1 million lines per annum was attained. As of September 2003, Nigeria had attained over 3 million lines, (2.3 million of which were digital mobile lines). Total teledensity, which had been just 0.4 lines per 100 inhabitants in 1999 stood at 2.6 per 100 inhabitants by September, 2003.

Along with this growth in lines has come a boom in private investment in the telecommunications sector. Recognizing the seemingly insatiable appetite of consumers for phone services and the potential of the Nigerian market, investors pumped USD 2.55 billion into the sector by June 2003. This represents a phenomenal 5000% increase in investment from just USD$50 million at the end of 1999. Today, investment in the telecom sector ranks second only to that in the oil industry. Increased competition in the market has also pushed down connection charges, so that fixed lines cost between N7,000-N30,000 in 2003 from over N100,000 in 1999 (Ndukwe, 2003).

In 1999, Nigeria had only 400,000 connected telephone lines and just 25,000 analogue mobile lines. Total teledensity stood at a paltry 0.4 lines per 100 inhabitants. Connection costs were prohibitively high – as much as N60, 000 for an analogue mobile line and waiting times for fixed lines could run into years. The increase in teledensity goes thus: 0.4 lines per 100 inhabitants in 1999; reached 1.96 in Dec 2002, it increased to 3.33 in December 2003. By March 2004, the total teledensity was estimated at 3.92 lines per 100 inhabitants. The Nigeria population now stands at 140 millions with GDP USD 52b, GDP growth of 3.7% and inflation rate of 10.4% (ITU, 2004).

Owing to several factors including government deregulation policy, the worldwide trend of rapid development in telecommunications and information technology and the huge potential of the Nigerian market, the story is very different. The immediate past Administration, through the government regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, has proved itself fully committed to the liberalization of the telecom market. Since year 2000, NCC has licensed Digital mobile Service providers, several Private Telephone Operators, Fixed wireless Access Operators, two Long Distance Operators, Internet Service Providers and a Second National Carrier (Ndukwe, 2003).

The emergence of GSM has led to improvements in efficiency and productivity, reductions in transaction costs, increased service innovation and better quality of life for the rural dwellers. Close to 2,000 persons have been directly employed by the GSM operators and an estimated 400,000 Nigerians are benefiting from indirect employment generated by the GSM operators (Ndukwe, 2004). Indirect employment has also been created through contract awards to construction firms, research companies and media consultants. In the financial sector, enterprising banks have designed innovative products that leverage the use of GSM.

The emergence of GSM has also led to the return of significant numbers of Nigerians from abroad. These are telecom professionals who have come back to build the country’s communications sector. Moreover, the GSM explosion has given birth to a new class of entrepreneurs who might otherwise have been unemployed. There is a nationwide network of dealers, vendors, GSM accessory sellers and the ubiquitous “umbrella-stand” operators, who interestingly received a special mention in a recent ITU publication for the service they are rendering to the Nigerian public.

Profile of Nigeria Rural Economy

Nigeria rural population and economic activities

In Nigeria, the rural areas constitute the greater percentage of the country’s population. This sector of the society is economically backward and the gap between rural and urban sectors in the country has been widening in recent years with . poverty being very widespread among Nigerian rural households. (Torimiro et al., 2004). These households lack frequently lack the basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing among other things. As a coping strategy to cushion the biting effect of poverty, the rural children are involved in many economic undertakings. Torimiro and Lawal (2001) identified major economic activities in which the children are involved to complement their parents’ contribution to household survival. These are street trading, firewood gathering, hunting, fishing, food processing, fetching of water, among other economic undertakings.

Among the most important impacts of poverty is urban migration from rural areas. Because the great majority of migrants are men of working age, the rural areas from which they come are left with a demographically unbalanced population of women, younger children, and older people. (Coutsouki, 2004) This phenomenon is not new to Nigeria and has been evident in parts of the country since long before independence. As a longer-term phenomenon, however, migration from the rural areas, especially by young men, is now an accelerating and largely irreversible social process.

Coutsouki (2004) asserts that this process affected the rural economy in the areas of migration by creating marked changes in the gender division of labor. In most of Africa, agricultural labor was traditionally specified by gender: men had certain tasks and women had others, although the specific divisions varied by culture and ethnic group. As working-age men left the rural areas, the resulting labor gap was met by others, usually wives or children, or by hired labor--or the tasks were modified or not performed.

Effects of GSM in Rural Economies and its impact on development community

Much anecdotal proof of mobile phone adoption leading to poverty alleviation has surfaced over the past couple of years. Mobile phones are quickly becoming an affordable, germane, and accessible tool to improve the livelihoods of individuals and groups in developing countries (Sinha, 2005). Beginning from Africa the number of mobile users is growing twice as fast in developing countries as in developed countries. Africa is now the fastest-growing mobile market in the world. Vodafone operating and affiliate companies now have networks in seven African countries (Vodafone, 2007).

The rapid spread of mobiles has been aided by pre-pay options that allow users to control their spending. The number of mobile users is often much higher than the actual number of phones, as many people allow family and friends to use their phones. Community phone shops allow many more people to gain access to telecommunications. Increased mobile connectivity improves access to information. Knowledge of latest prices in different markets, for example, can improve price transparency for small farmers and fishermen who can cut out the middlemen and gain direct access to markets. For example, Vodafone’s affiliate in Kenya, Safaricom, helps farmers keep track of market prices for their goods (Vodafone, 2004).

In 2000, access to mobile phones surpassed fixed line phone access in Sub-Saharan Africa. A similar story unfolded in Asia in early 2002 (ITU, 2004). Digital wireless phones have great potential to bridge the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, given their accessibility, affordability, and fast infrastructure implementation (Kauffman & Techatassanasoontorn, 2005). A study done in a Tanzanian community found that 28% of people said they could access a fixed line in their community, compared to 97% who could access a mobile one (Samuel et al., 2005). The same study concluded that income was an important but not limiting factor to ownership and use of mobiles. Also, ownership for mobile telephones was shown to be less skewed towards those with higher incomes than for fixed lines. These findings point towards a need for greater understanding with regards to why more poor people are using mobiles, how they are using them, and what they are using them for.

In 2004, Vodafone commissioned four research studies on the socio-economic impact of mobiles in Africa. The key findings are:

  • The value of mobile phones to the individual is greater because other forms of communication (such as postal systems, roads and fixed-line phones) are often poor. Mobiles provide a point of contact and enable users to participate in the economic system.

  • Many people who cannot afford to own a mobile themselves can access mobile services through informal sharing with family and friends or through community phone shops.

  • Use of text messaging in rural communities is much lower due to illiteracy and the many indigenous languages. This has implications for other technologies that use the written word, such as the internet.

As well it was found that mobiles can improve economic growth, quality of life and social capital:

  • Mobiles have a positive and significant impact on economic growth. This impact may be twice as large in developing countries as in developed countries (Maveman and Fuss, 2005).

  • A developing country with an extra 10 phones per 100 people between 1996 and 2003 would have had GDP growth 0.59% higher than an otherwise identical country (Maverman et al., 2005).

  • Fixed and mobile communications networks, (in addition to the openness of the economy, the level of GDP and other infrastructure), are positively linked with Foreign Direct Investment. This impact of mobile telecommunications has grown in recent years (Williams, 2005).

  • Many of the small businesses surveyed use mobiles as their only means of communication. The proportion is highest for black-owned businesses in South Africa and informal sector businesses in Egypt (Samuel et al., 2005).

  • 62% of the small businesses surveyed in South Africa and 59% in Egypt said they had increased profits as a result of mobile phones, in spite of increased call costs (Williams, 2005).

  • Mobiles are used as a community amenity. Most mobile owners surveyed in South Africa allow family members to use their handset for free and a third does the same for friends.

  • 85% of those surveyed in Tanzania and 79% in South Africa said they had more contact and better relationships with family and friends as a result of mobile phones (Williams, 2005).

In Bangladesh (Wattegama, 2005), gave the underlisted as the effects of GSM on the rural economy:

  • Phones have been placed in 1,100 villages. The 6 -7 year goal is to serve 500,000 subscribers, including 68,000 phones dedicated to serving rural areas.

  • Village Phones have increased incomes and savings accumulation among phone owners, mostly women.

  • Phone users, mainly local farmers, have increased their productivity through access to market information, weather reports and pest and disaster alerts.

  • Farmers in phone villages receive up to 10 percent higher prices for farm products and improved security of supply for inputs.

  • A significant portion of phone owners’ profits has been spent on paying for improved education and health services for their families.

  • The phone service has also contributed to improvements in disaster response, crime rates and livestock mortality through better access to public services.

Similarly, (ITU, 2006) report that over the last five years, mobile phones have been the outstanding ICT platform in terms of growth and impact in the developing world. In Nigeria, Africa’s most populated country, the telecommunication industry, and particularly the mobile industry, has been recognized as the fastest growing employer of labour. The telecommunication regulator (NCC) estimated that in March 2004 alone the telecom sector created 5,000 new jobs directly and primarily due to the growth in the mobile sector. In the same month, it was estimated that the spin-offs in new businesses – dealerships, retail outlets for GSM handsets and accessories, and one-man phone booth operations – created no less than 400,000 new jobs.

Telecommunication is expected to provide employment opportunities for the unemployed graduates and school leavers. The licensed operators in Nigeria such as MTN, ECONET, GLOBACOM, M-TEL and the likes are still recruiting workers. It is against this background that the present study is designed to examine the stakeholders’ perception of the impact of GSM on the Nigerian rural economy and as well consider its implication for the emerging communication industries.

Methodology

This study adopted a descriptive survey research design to describe stakeholders’ perceptions of the impact of the GSM on the Nigerian rural economy and its implications for the communication industry. The study drew on GSM subscribers who were comprised of policemen, teachers, the unemployed graduates, itinerants’ traders, farmers and the drivers as the target population. The sample comprised 1000 respondents randomly selected from ten rural communities of Oyo State, Nigeria. Their age ranged from 25- 50 years.

An instrument tagged the Economic Impact of GSM Perception Scale. The instrument was divided into two sections. The first section acquired the respondents’ bio-data information such as gender, marital status, age, and years of using GSM etc. while the second section contained a number of issue response items.

The second section was further divided into four parts. Part 1 contained items on GSM and the Rural Economy; Part 2 included items on GSM and Unemployment. Part 3 consisted of items on GSM and crime reduction while Part 4 presented items on GSM and Time Management. Each part contained five items each, except Part 4 which contains six items. These gave a total of 21 items in all. Response to the items range from Strongly Agree- Strongly Disagree (Likert Scale). The instrument was administered to the respondents in their various communities using the Town Halls as the venue of the administration. With the support of research assistants, the administration of the questionnaire was completed in 10 days.

Research questions

  1. What is the stakeholder’s perception of the impact of the introduction of GSM on Nigeria’s rural economy?

  2. Does the introduction of GSM provide job opportunities to the rural dwellers in Nigeria?

  3. Has the introduction of GSM reduced the rate of crime in rural areas in Nigeria?

  4. Of what relative impact is the introduction of GSM on the rural dwellers’ time management?

Data Analysis

Data collected was analysed using Chi-Square statistics.

Results

The results of the analysis are presented as follows:

Table 1: Bio-Data Information Summary

Gender

No of Respondents

% Distribution

Male

600

60

Female

400

40

Total

1000

1000

Marital Status

No of Respondents

Percentage

Single

350

35

Married

550

55

Divorce

100

10

Total

1000

100

Respondents Age in Years

No of Responses

Percentage

21 - 30

150

15

3 - 40

400

40

41 - 50

250

25

51+

200

2

Total

1000

100

Years of using GSM

No of Respondents

Percentage

0- 5years

556

55.6

6- 10years

234

23.4

11years +

210

21.0

Total

1000

100

Return Rate

No

Percentage

Number Administered

1000

100

Number Returned

1000

100

The results in Table 1 above show that 60% of the respondents’ were male while 40% were female. Furthermore, 35% were single while 55% were married and 10% were shown to be divorced. 80% of the respondents’ ages falls within the range of 21- 50 years. The return rate of the instrument was also shown to 100%.

Research Question 1:

Does the introduction of GSM have an impact on Nigeria’s rural economy?

Table 2: Rural Economy and Use of GSM



S/N

ITEMS

SA

A

D

SD



R-Total



1

GSM has improved the standard of living of the Nigeria rural dwellers.

120

(60)

92

(71)

28

(67)

16

(23)



256

2

Every sector of the economy in Nigeria has benefited from GSM

70

(45)

80

(53)

17

(50)

23

(54)



190

3

GSM is not relevant to all, as it is expensive to maintain.

6

(36.5)

8

(45)

51

(37)

75

(40)



140

4

GSM has improved the demand and supply of agricultural product in the rural areas.

75

(40)

52

(37)

6

(36.5

7

(32)



140

5

GSM is of no impact on Nigeria rural economy

5

(35)

10

(41)

65

(39)

67

(42)



147

6

GSM is meant for high income earners.

27

(30)

20

(35)

50

(33)

30

(36)



127



Column Total



234



277



263



286



1000

*Significant at 0.05

(X Obs = 472. 1; X Crit = 26.296; df, 16, P.05)

Looking at the results in Table 2 above, on item 1; it is clear that the stakeholders perceived that GSM has contributed to the improvement of the standard of living of the rural dwellers. This is evident with the number of responses to strongly agree and agree which is (212) greater than the number of disagree and strongly disagree (44). On item 2, the result also indicates the opinion that every sector of the Nigeria economy has benefited from GSM. This is also shown with the number of strongly agree and agree greater (150) greater than the number of those who disagree and strongly disagree (40). The response to the third item shows that GSM is perceived as relevant to all. This is indicated with (126) disagree and strongly disagree as against (14) strongly agree and disagree. It should be noted that this is a negative item; hence the interpretation is reversed. This means those who disagree and strongly disagree are on the positive side. On item four, which is on the perceived impact of GSM on agricultural products in the rural areas; the result shows that demand and supply of agricultural product are understood to have been dramatically improved. This is shown with (127) strongly agreeing and agreeing against (13) disagreeing and strongly disagreeing. Similarly, item 5and 6 are also negative. With these therefore, the interpretation is that GSM is understood to have had an impact on Nigeria rural economy and is not meant for high income earners alone. Going a step further, an attempt was made to calculate the chi-obs. and chi-table value to show the significant perception of the impact. The result shows that the Xo Obs 472.1 is greater than the value of Xo Crit. 26.296 at 16 degree of freedom. This indicates that the introduction of GSM is understood to have had a significant impact on Nigeria’s rural economy.

Research Question 2:

Does the introduction of GSM provide more job opportunities to the Nigerians in rural areas?

Table 3: Job Opportunities and Use of GSM

S/N

ITEMS

SA

A

D

SD

R

Total

1

The introduction of GSM in Nigeria encourages small scale business

92

(88)

78

(72)

13

(22)

23

(24)



206

2

GSM has provided a source of income to many young school leavers

102

(99)

86

(82)

21

(25)

24

(27)



233

3

GSM has reduced poverty in Nigeria

96

(92)

88

(76)

21

(23)

11

(25)



216

4

Unemployment has been dramatically reduced through the introduction of GSM.

105



(86)

64



(71)

14



(22)

18



(23)





201

5

GSM provides employment opportunities for only a few influential Nigerians.

14



(29)

15



(24)

18



(7)

20



(8)



67

6

GSM provides holiday jobs for many students

20

(33)

20

(27)

17

(8)

20

(9)



67

Column Total

426

351

107

116

1000

*significant at 0.05.

(Xo Obs. 103.66; Xo Crit. 37.652; P.05; DF 25)

The result for item 1 in Table 3 above shows that the introduction of GSM is perceived to encourage small scale business in the country. This is shown with the number of strongly agree and agree (170) greater than the number of disagree and strongly disagree (26) responses. The result also revealed that GSM is seen as providing a source of income to many young school leavers. This is indicated with the number of responses on strongly agree and agree on this item (200) greater than the number of disagree and strongly disagree (45). Results also shows that GSM has reduced the poverty level in Nigeria with (184) respondents agreeing and strongly agreeing against ((32) strongly disagreeing and agreeing respectively. On the issue of whether unemployment has been dramatically reduced through the introduction of GSM, (169) agreed and strongly agreed. This shows that the introduction of GSM in Nigeria is understood as reducing unemployment. The result on item 5 in Table 3 confirms this by indicating that GSM is indicted as providing employment opportunities for many Nigerians with only a few (38) respondents disagring and strongly disagreeing with the item against (29) who agree and strongly agree. It is also evident from the results that GSM is understood as providing holiday job for many Nigerian students with (40) respondents agreeing and strongly agreeing against (37) disagreeing and strongly disagreeing. The result obtained on the value of (Xo Obs.= 314.2) is greater than the value of (Xo Crit. 26.296) at 0.05 significant levels at 16 degree of freedom. This indicates generally that the introduction of GSM significantly is seen as creating employment opportunities for the unemployed youths in the rural areas in Nigeria.

Research Question 3

Has the introduction of GSM reduced the rate of crime in Nigeria?

Table 4: Crime and Use of GSM

S/N

ITES

SA

A

D

SD

R

Total

1

GSM has increased the rate of crime in Nigeria.

25

(54)

32

(44)

86

(66)

97

(76)



240

2

GSM encourages dishonesty among Nigerians

25

(47)

18

(39)

90

(58)

76

(66)



209

3

The use of GSM assists in reporting criminals in the society to law enforcement agents.

136



(36)

89



(49)

12



(74)

31



(85)





268

4

GSM has aided the activities of armed robbers.

25

(43)

21

(35)

65

(52)

78

(60)



189

5

Introduction of GSM has dramatically increased fraudulent activities in Nigeria.

14



(21)

24



(17)

22



(26)

34



(30)



94

Total

225

184

275

316

1000

*significant at 0.05

(Xo Obs. 314.2; Xo Crit. 26.296: df, 16; P 0.05)

On the level of crime reduction, the result shows that the introduction of GSM is not seen as increasing the crime rate in the country. This is indicated with (183) respondents disagreeing and strongly disagreeing with item 1 in Table 4. In the same table, the results show that GSM has is not understood as encouraging dishonesty among Nigerians. On the issue of reporting criminal cases to the law enforcement agents, the results indicate that (225) respondents indicated their support for this statement by agreeing and strongly agreeing with item 3 in table as against (43) respondents who disagree and strongly disagree. The results further indicated that the respondents feel that GSM has neither aided the activities of armed robbers nor dramatically increased fraudulent activities in Nigeria. This is shown with response to items 4 and 5. Generally, the result in table 4 shows that the Xo obs 314.2 is greater than the value of Xo Crit 26.295 at 0.05 significant levels and 16 degree of freedom. This implies that the perception is that the introduction of GSM in Nigeria has actually reduced the rate of crime.

Research Question 4

Of what relative impact is the introduction of GSM on people’s time management?

Table 5: Time Management and Use of GSM

S/N

ITEM

SA

A

D

SD

R

Total

1

Nigerians are now more time conscious with the advent of GSM

78

(74)

87

(75)

15

(23)

21

(29)



201

2

GSM is time consuming

11

(63)

18

(65)

64

(20)

79

(25)



172

3

GSM encourages time management

86

(69)

84

(71)

12

(22)

7

(27)



189

4

GSM discourages unwarranted journeys

90

(71)

90

(72)

6

(22)

7

(28)



193

5

GSM enhances proper planning and execution of private and public programmes.

102

(90)

96

(92)

17

(28)

30

935)



245

Column Total

367

375

114

144

1000

*significant at 0.05

(Xo Obs.342.1; Xo Crit.26.296; DF -16; P.05)

The results in table 5 shows that Nigerian are now perceived as being more time conscious with the advent of GSM with (155) agreeing and strongly agreeing with the statement while (37) disagreeing and strongly disagreeing. Moreover, (123) respondents indicated that GSM is seen as being time consuming while (29) respondents agree and strongly sagree. The table shows further that GSM is understood as encouraging time management. This is shown with (170) respondents in support and (19) against. On whether or not GSM discourages unwarranted journeys, (180) agree and strongly agree greater than (13) who were both disagree and strongly disagree. The majority of the respondents (198) are also support the perception that GSM enhances proper planning and execution of private and public programmes. The overall result in table 5 shows that Xo obs. 342.1 is greater than the value of Xo Crit. 26.296 at 0.05 significant levels and at 16 degree of freedom. This means that the stakeholders have the perception that the introduction of GSM has an impact on the people’s time management ability.

Discussion

While the major focus of this paper is an attempt to examine stakeholders perception of impact on specific issues such as income, job opportunities, crime and security. Within a span of some five years, a large percentage of Nigerians, including those in the rural communities now have access to this communication mode. Whereas in the late 1980s, a Minister of Communication--a top government functionary in Nigeria--made the remarkable statement that “the telephone is not for the poor”; today in Nigeria both the ‘Rich’ and the ‘Poor’ have access to mobile communication. Telephoning has been removed as the exclusive preserve of the rich in Nigeria with the arrival of GSM. This significant observation is perhaps a major finding in this study.

On the impact of GSM on job creation for rural people. It is reported in this study that a majority of school leavers, who hitherto have been idle and jobless now engage themselves in retailing of GSM materials and as local service providers. In most parts of the urban cities, town and villages in Nigeria, there have sprung up service centres for pay phones. Due to the small capital required to set up such a business, many who were previously unemployed now enter into such businesses. This has reduced the number of unemployed youths in our cities and rural communities.

Consequent upon these job creation opportunities for rural people is the resultant increase in their income. With some earnings coming in from the retailing of GSM products and call services, the respondents indicated that the entry of GSM into the country has enhanced their income. The category of respondents being described here are the people on lower rungs of the economic ladder, farmers, petty traders, teachers, (at both primary and secondary schools levels)--generally what could be described as the low income earners. Although, it was very difficult for the respondents to give precise figures of their income, they generally acknowledge that their income has been enhanced due to GSM effect.

On the impact of GSM on their time management, although the respondents generally agreed that this is possible, however, it was discovered that in spite of the efficacy of GSM to encourage effective time management, Nigerians, especially, the category of people sampled here, do not see themselves as having changed their (poor) time management habits. Perhaps, one could provide an explanation for the general poor time management among Nigerians where most Nigerians from the top to the lowest level, suffer from the ‘African time’ syndrome. This is a situation where people arrive late for appointments, meetings, and programmes with impunity. This attitude is something that can not be changed so easily, as it takes a long period of time for people to change their long held practices. It is therefore not strange that positive changes in time management are still not achieved, in spite of the GSM communication mode in the country. It could be hoped that this communication mode will help to sharpen the sense of time management skills.

With regards to GSM and crime rates, it was reported that the introduction of GSM has had a significant impact towards crime reduction in the rural areas in Nigeria. It could be noted that crime detection and reporting to law enforcement agencies is perceived to have improved. In fact, a particular GSM operator provides a service that helps trace stolen vehicles in the country. This service has led to the recovery of many stolen cars.

Way Forward

With many service providers coming on board and expansion of network services even among the existing services providers, things can only get better. It is therefore expected that access will be extended to more rural communities in Nigeria and in the not distant future the whole country will have been covered. This will have multiplier effects on the life of the people generally, and the rural dwellers more specifically.

Limitations of the study

This study has reported empirical findings on the perception of the stakeholders regarding the impact of GSM on Nigeria rural economy. However, the study has a number of weaknesses. These include the fact that it drew a sample from ten communities in only one state out of the 36 states that make up the Nigeria State. Furthermore, the perceptions of the workforce linked to the petroleum sector were not included in the target population of the study despite the fact that petroleum comes from rural areas and it has impacted the economy in those zones. In the light of all these identified limitations and shortcomings; future research is needed to extend the scope of the study to cover those limitations

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441